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China Allows Foreign Copyright Agencies

THE Chinese government has decided to allow foreign copyright organizations to establish agencies in China, an official newspaper reported April 11.

The move is expected to improve protection of foreign copyrights and help China's own copyright sector to develop, an unidentified spokesman of the State Copyright Administration was quoted by the China Daily as saying.

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The copyright administration is to handle the examination and approval of applicants, the report said without giving details.

China's inadequate protection of American movies, music, and software nearly led to a trade war with the United States. The US had threatened to impose trade sanctions on a long list of Chinese goods.

The trade war was averted only after China agreed to the US demands in February of better enforcement of laws protecting copyrights, trademarks, and patents.

US businesses estimate that they lose $1 billion annually to copyright, patent, and trademark violations in China through such counterfeit products as music CDs and illicit copies of computer software.

In recent months, the government has tried to show that it is enforcing the laws protecting copyrights, patents, and trademarks with some well-publicized raids on factories making counterfeit goods.

The China Daily report cited government figures that show authorities last year confiscated 2.2 million pirated laser discs and 1.58 million unauthorized books.

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